How To Make Popcorn Balls With Marshmallows

Andy Waters
Latest posts by Andy Waters (see all)

I found out something today, rice crispy treats are not gluten-free! It’s hard to know what is and isn’t gluten free, even in 2022! No worries, today we have a delicious recipe that can be Gluten Free!

Popcorn balls with marshmallows are similar in shape and texture to rice crispy treats, however, they have something uniquely different that sets them apart. They’re made of popcorn! 

Popcorn Balls

The malt flavorings in rice crispy treats have gluten in them, making it not safe for people who suffer from celiac or have some gluten sensitivities. Popcorn marshmallow balls contain mainly two ingredients, popcorn, and marshmallows. However, it’s all about the way you make them!

If you want to know how to make the best popcorn balls with marshmallows, then stick around and find out! Because there is a very specific way to make them that must be followed in order to get the best results. 

Popcorn And Marshmallows

Popcorn has actually been a thing for thousands of years, albeit it was used in a slightly different way, but its introduction into this world happened long before you or I were alive. It just wasn’t until 1890 that popcorn’s accessibility changed, and we have a man named Charles Cretors’ to thank for it.

It’s always a Charles, isn’t it? Charles Garnier built one of the world’s most famous and grand Opera Houses, Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of his time. Charles Darwin, the origin of species, need I say more? Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. The Charles’ of the world seem to do it all!

The name Charles was popular around the same time most of these men were alive, so in theory, it’s not unusual to see the repetition of the name. However, I still think it’s suspicious. 

Anyway, back to the relevant Charles, he was the inventor of the popcorn maker itself, because he was a candy store wonder and had created many large pieces of confectionery machinery beforehand.

He just applied the same technology to corn kernels and deployed street carts equipped with steam-powered popcorn makers. While other businesses were failing during the Great Depression, popcorn was only 5 to 10 cents a bag, so was extremely popular for being inexpensive. 

During World War Two sugar rations kind of ripped candy productions away from us, and popcorn was one of the few accessible snacks available, fast-forward, and with it being so widely available, it was used at theaters and outdoor cinemas because it was easy to handle and sold well. In 1981, the first microwavable popcorn was produced, and the rest is history!

What About Marshmallows?

Marshmallows are typically made from water, sugar, and gelatin whipped together to make the texture we all know and love. The actual name comes from a species of plant, a herb native to parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia.

Their history actually goes back as far as 2000 BC because we’re not sure exactly when they were first invented or made. Funnily enough, by the mid-1800s candy production of marshmallows had made its way to France, very similar to popcorn being produced at the time. So, they were definitely meant to be in that sense and destined to be combined to make delicious popcorn balls with marshmallows. 

What Are Popcorn Balls?

Popcorn balls are essentially freshly popped popcorn, with a delicious syrup or caramel-based mix to glue them together into the circular ball shapes. They are a mix between caramel corn, and rice crispy treats, if that helps to visualize them better. They’re also the perfect combination of sweet, salted, and sticky flavors and textures, which you would expect from something so well-made and delicious!

Furthermore, they’re everything a child needs in life because they combine several delicious flavors in one recipe! Children go nuts over anything that is sticky and messy and feel free to get your kids involved with making your own popcorn balls if you have the time to help them out while they help you.

If you want to know how to make traditional popcorn balls as well as our favorites with marshmallows, here is a recipe that can teach you everything you need to know about making them in their most traditional sense. 

Traditional Popcorn Balls Recipe

Making Popcorn Balls With Marshmallows

So, you want to know how to make the best popcorn balls out there with sticky marshmallows gluing them together? Well, look no further we have the methods, the ingredients, and the final outcome, so you don’t have to search for it!

You’ll want to place your popcorn in a large baking pan if you’re making it on the stove and keep it warm in a 200-degree oven if you can. Then in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, marshmallows, salt, and water. This will need to be observed over the heat until a candy thermometer reaches 235 degrees, which is the softball stage!

Remove it from the heat to add your vanilla. Pour the marshmallow and syrup sauce over your popcorn, and if you find it’s too sticky, simply add another cup of popcorn to the mixture to even it out. Don’t forget to mix your sprinkles in at this stage! 

Why not try adding several syrup flavors into your popcorn balls with marshmallows? There are no specific rules on how to make them when you understand how to combine your sticky glue and the popcorn. Why not try toffee sauce, or chocolate-based caramel syrup to throw the flavors off their feet!

Form into 3-inch ball shapes and push whatever topping you like into them, such as chocolate chips. Set on waxed paper for 30 minutes, and enjoy! We have linked the recipe if you need a bit more hand holding!

How to Make Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Popcorn Balls Taste Like?

They’re an interesting texture in their own right, but they are like a mixture between caramel corn, and a rice crispy treat because of the marshmallows mixed in. They’re a crunchy, sweet, and salted snack that combined the best parts of popcorn and marshmallows together into one delicious ball. 

When Were Popcorn Balls Created?

Actually, this answer may surprise you, but they were first made in 1861! The very first recipe was published in E.F. Haskell’s Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia. It just wasn’t until the turn of the century that they were being incorporated into cookbooks and recipe books. 

Why are My Marshmallow Popcorn Balls not Sticking Together?

This is most likely due to the marshmallow mix not having set correctly, try making a few balls at a time and then cycle through to reshape them as you go. This may have to be done a few times before they fully set, but eventually, you should achieve the best marshmallow popcorn balls you’ve ever tried. 

Final Thoughts

Well, we hope you’re as satisfied as we are about making popcorn balls and how to make the best popcorn balls with marshmallows! They are a delightful snack when you have time to make them, and they’re also fantastic with children.

There aren’t many people who don’t like marshmallows and popcorn unless they have an allergy, so it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with popcorn balls and marshmallows. 

Marshmallows are great in many recipes, but popcorn seems to be the one where they can be enjoyed the most! For obvious reasoning, of course. They’re sticky, delicious, and so soft in texture, so popcorn is exactly what they need to mix up those textures with more textures!

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